Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Sound of Tap Shoes

I was in the second dance recital of my life this afternoon and it was actually FUN! I’m pleased to say that I manage to sometimes surpass my abilities in a crunch.

I couldn’t help but think of my first recital at age 4 when I did a little ballet number. I spent the better part of the afternoon searching for the photo that showed my young class in our recital number. We had white satin tu-tu’s with silver sequins on the bodice and very full tuille skirts. My hair was in long golden curls that looked like the result of a curling iron. I was the tallest one in the class, so I was in the front in the middle. I’m holding up my hands as if to blow a horn. I loved my one and only recital as a child and forced my bigger body into that little tu-tu for years afterwards. That was the end of my childhood dancing career because my parents gave me a choice of more dance lessons or kindergarten (each of which cost $25 a month) and I chose kindergarten.

I went into a panic about today’s recital last Sunday when I realized that the other two non-blind women had been practicing hard at home and knew the dance much better than I did. But this week in my typical Type A mode, I practiced every day and would find myself waking up to “Off we go into the wild blue yonder” in my head. I never had a copy of the music, but by today’s performance I could sing it and dance at the same time and even look out at my pretend audience instead of watching my feet.

Picture a large rec center room cut in half by a homemade black curtain held up with Velcro. That was our “performance hall.” The four classes of students ranged in age from about 7 to 70. My class (known as “the Air Force”) consisted of my dental hygienist, another woman, and the blind woman (all probably in their mid-40's). We wore long navy pants, a blue tee shirt, and an Air Force cap.

Prior to the show, our teacher Roberta had us all join hands in a circle. I was somewhat afraid we might be headed for a pre-dance prayer. But no, it was just a “break a leg” hand squeeze that went around the circle of young and old dancers. We warmed up as a group by pointing our toes and circling our ankles. At this point, the youngest dancers were more than ready to get started.

I watched the first 4 dances while waiting for the Air Force number. The advanced adult group had obviously been dancing for a number of years. Everyone including the children danced well, but not perfectly. No one made unforgivable mistakes. Every number got the same rousing applause from the audience.

My motto today was “make your mistakes with confidence and a smile on your face.” After we grape-vined onto the stage, I actually looked at my husband who was in the center of the audience. The look of incredulousness on his face as he snapped pictures made it all worthwhile. I managed to get through our 2-1/2 minute dance without forgetting any of it and with no Lucy moments of doing something totally different from everyone else. I let my arms move with my feet and was simply propelled by the music. It was FUN.

Our dance ended in a salute. We took our bows and then grape-vined back through the curtain slits moving our arms like we were planes. Hokey but the audience loved it and clapped harder.

I was planning to move on to other things from tap dancing, but I may just sign up for the next round, which begins on March 30. It warms you up and simply makes you feel good all over.


Anonymous lr said...

The look of pleasure - joy, even? - on your face says yes you should sign up for the next class. You looked terrific! Congratulations to you all, and great photography!

10:32 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

LR -- Maybe you should sign up to. At $8 a class, it's the best bargain going. It's aerobic and a lot more fun than the gym!

11:07 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Good for you! You look as though you're having a good time - you are far braver than I.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Fantastic pics! BRAVO!!! Imagine a standing ovation and a dozen roses tossed at your feet.


8:27 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- There's a point where you just decide to enjoy making a fool of yourself. I'm sure you could do it, too!

Reya -- I love red roses. I'm imagining picking them up and smelling that wonderful rose fragrance!

8:42 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

How fun! I love a good dance recital. I even love a bad dance recital. My nieces aren't taking dance this year and I'm disappointed. We've all had so much fun with it.

Congrats on a great job! You look so happy in those pictures.

2:01 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

bravo! bravo!! I am constantly inspired by my new friend!!

tap dancing does bring smiles to the dancers and even those of us reading about your adventure!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Heel toe heel toe....
Catchin up with ya! That quilt is gorgeous!!!!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

It looks like you had a great time, and that is what it's all about!

I love those tee shirts that say, "What if Hokey Pokey is what it's all about?"

I would have picked Kindergarten as well!

5:49 PM  
Blogger Colette Amelia said...

Bravo! Live, Laugh, Love, Dance!

9:41 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin, Kimy, Colette -- It struck me that the first time I had smiled while dancing was at the recital. Until then I was concentrating so hard on remembering what to do and getting my feet to carry it out that I seemed more anxious than happy. But something about performing for an audience always fires me up!

Old Lady -- Welcome back! And thanks for your kind words about the quilt, which is far from done but a lot of fun to make.

Kelly -- If tap dancing is all it's about, it's not so bad! I'm glad to see you agree with my difficult choice as a 4-year-old.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened to be in the audience and can attest that you and your whole group were fantastic! Can I hire your photographer?

11:08 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Anon -- You ARE the photographer, right?! Had me going for a minute there...

11:17 PM  

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